You promised friends and family that this would be the year you would really take a summer vacation. But now that summer is almost here, you’re wondering how you can leave your precious baby (that is, your business) to waste time on the beach. You think:
- No one can run your business like you can.
- Customers will take their business somewhere else if you’re not there to talk to them
- A big opportunity will happen while you’re gone
- You can’t afford to miss even one day of selling
The truth is, you’re not alone in your thinking. A study from OnDeck last year showed only 57 percent of small business owners planned to take any kind of vacation, and 67 percent of those who were going on vacation planned to work during their trips. Working without a break is hard on you, your family and your business. Enthusiasm and innovation suffer—and so does your health. Here are a few ideas to help you get some time away from your business:
- Try a three-day weekend. It might not be Paris, but a three-day weekend is a great way to limit your time away from your business and still get a breather. A bonus: when you’re only gone for only a few days, it’s easier to justify “going off the grid”—no laptop or business phone calls.
- Time it right. If your industry’s busiest season is summer, than obviously it’s going to be difficult to get away in July and August. Instead, plan to get away before or after the crazy months when you know business is slower.
- Tell everyone about your vacation. Long-time and loyal customers or clients will be fine with you taking some time off, so be truthful about leaving. If projects are due before you leave, make sure you complete the work as promised. For projects due after you get back, give your clients realistic deadlines. As long as you’re transparent, you likely won’t get any complaints.
- Don’t stay in town. Staycation = bad idea. The more hands-on you at your business, the harder it will be to stay away. Get out of town so you’re not tempted to drop in on your business.
- Delegate and trust. Make sure you’ve trained someone on your staff to take over while you’re away and give them specific directions on when and under what circumstances to contact you if needed. If you don’t have any employees, give important customers your personal mobile number to contact you in case of emergency.
For longer vacations, staying completely away from the business is most likely impossible. Fortunately, technology can make business operation seamless. Keep important documents in the cloud and sync all your mobile devices. Remember to turn on auto-responders so customers and vendors know it may not be possible for you to return their calls or emails immediately.
Vacations can give you the recharge you need to keep your business going. Don’t waste the opportunity to take one, no matter how short.
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